I'm trying to teach my 11 year old son a bit of bass guitar. My main instrument is double bass and my efforts on bass guitar are entirely self-taught.
We've hit a roadblock: he cannot get a clear tone from C# played with his fourth finger on the A string in first position. (We've not tried G# on the E string yet.) It's a short-scale bass and it seems fine when I play it. He has average sized hands for an 11 year old.
I've been telling him to press with the hard tips of his fingers, not the fleshy bit, with his first finger just behind the second fret, the third finger just behind the third fret, and the third and forth fingers together just behind the fourth fret. I've told him to keep his knuckles slightly bent and he has great difficulty with this - his fourth finger knuckle in particularly wants to bend the wrong way. He also keeps scrunching his four fingers up together rather than keeping them spread out behind their respective frets. He's also tending to push the string sideways rather than straight down onto the fingerboard.
It's got to the stage where he seems to have decided it is too difficult and is giving up.
Firstly, am I giving him good advice? I realise I've adapted my technique from the double bass. Secondly, what can I do to help him not give up?
I'm sure the effort to crack this problem will be well worth it, but I need to convince him of that. I don't want him to end up with a terrible technique that will soon start holding him back. (I did consider suggesting he shift position to play the C# with his second finger, but dismissed that because he'll have no dexterity with a technique like that.)